Have Los Angeles teachers unions gone too far?

Have Los Angeles teachers unions gone too far?

California Federation of TeachersThe American Federation of Teachers sponsored a “day of action” Monday to ostensibly shed light on educational issues. Teachers throughout the country — with varying success — staged demonstrations discussing a laundry list of union priorities. Its state affiliate here is the California Federation of Teaches.

In California, where unions have long wielded more influence than in most states, the protests took an interesting turn. That is, Los Angeles teachers mostly just focused on themselves — not students.

Los Angeles teachers, who are relatively powerful, drew light to a very specific issue, one they are facing heat for (even from Democratic legislators). The Los Angeles Times reported that United Teachers Los Angeles members protested “against the conditions under which the L.A. Unified School District handles teachers who are facing allegations of misconduct.”

L.A. Unified teachers are represented by both the CFT and the larger California Teachers Association.

The union members held “vigils” for teachers who were spending time in Los Angeles Unified School District offices because of their impending misconduct cases. The union focused on defending teachers plausibly accused of wrongdoing — from sexual misconduct to aggressive behavior against students.

One teacher, explaining the protest, asked the Times, “What kind of school district removes a teacher from the classroom if a 13-year-old said so?”

The protests are a response to a crackdown on misbehaving teachers. After the district was forced to pay Miramonte Elementary teacher Mark Berndt — who sexually molested countless children and photographed them ingesting his bodily fluids — $40,000 to settle his case, the district opened up hundreds of cases against teachers. Those protesting said that the district had gone too far and was no longer defending students, but attacking teachers.

Context

In order to understand why Los Angeles teachers would focus on such a specific issue, particularly on a day meant to focus on broader educational problems, one should understand the context of just how powerful teachers unions are in California.

A report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute ranked teachers unions in California as the sixth strongest in the United States.

The report noted several interesting facts about the influence of California teachers unions in politics. Teachers unions gave 4.3 percent of all money received by political parties in California.  And more than 12 percent of all members of the California delegations to Democratic and Republican national conventions were members of teachers unions.

Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a senior fellow at the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning and Development, told CalWatchdog.com that teachers unions, which typically align with the Democratic Party, “basically own the Legislature.”

Further, California teachers unions have the strongest bargaining power of any state in the entire country.

“California has the most union-friendly bargaining laws in the nation,” the report noted, making Monday’s protest all the more perplexing.

The report concluded:

The Golden State’s teacher unions are quite powerful; in a state that does not spend much on K-12 education, they’ve gathered considerable internal resources (and do not shy away from dedicating those resources to state politics — with apparent success, given their present reputation for influence). Although charter and employment policies are not well aligned with traditional union interests, California is exceptionally permissive when it comes to teacher bargaining rights.

Jeffe added that, while teachers unions are already very powerful in California, they will likely see their clout increase even more in the coming years.

“The power of the teachers unions may only increase, because the power of Republicans in the Legislature has already begun to decrease,” she said. “The Republican Party in this state is losing registration and losing clout.”

10 comments

Write a comment
  1. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 11 December, 2013, 14:11

    We have Black Friday moving specials daily in January 2014.

    Just provide our rental yard staff with your personal promotion code: DOOMED

    Reply this comment
  2. surfcitysocal
    surfcitysocal 11 December, 2013, 15:10

    “The Republican Party in this state is losing registration and losing clout…” because all of the Republicans are moving to other states where liberal/progressive/statist policies haven’t taken over and destroyed the economy, employment, business, and families.

    Reply this comment
  3. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 11 December, 2013, 16:01

    In California, where unions have long wielded more influence than in most states.
    ————————————————
    Because in most states large corporations and big business have more influence! If we let them they would also control California, but thank god we have union power to fight them!!!

    Reply this comment
    • eck
      eck 11 December, 2013, 20:22

      You are obviously a shill of some sort. There is no data whatsoever, to support such a statement.

      Reply this comment
  4. Albert Hurst
    Albert Hurst 12 December, 2013, 19:39

    You want to fix California – it is really simple – impossible but simple – OUTLAW ALL PUBLIC UNIONS!!! Did not say PRIVATE UNIONS – just PUBLIC UNIONS! These leeches need to be squashed and eliminated.

    Reply this comment
  5. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 12 December, 2013, 20:41

    These leeches need to be squashed and eliminated.
    ———————-
    Bring it on Albert!!!! Prop 32 wasn’t enough of a beat down for ya!!!! Lol

    Reply this comment
  6. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 13 December, 2013, 07:34

    …the protests took an interesting turn. That is, Los Angeles teachers mostly just focused on themselves — not students.

    LOL…does this NOT surprise anyone?

    Reply this comment
  7. Rex the Wonderdog!
    Rex the Wonderdog! 13 December, 2013, 07:37

    Because in most states large corporations and big business have more influence!
    ==
    Actually NTHEOC, nearly ALL unions in CA are gone, the ONLY unions are public employee unions and then only because they have no competition, do NLT operate in a free market, are protected by their bought and paid for politicians. Has nothing to do with “large corporations and big business” and everything to do with a bunch of overpaid HS educated mental morons working in a government monopoly. Heck the treasurer of Bell was a HS DROP OUT and was making $400K plus fringes.

    Reply this comment
  8. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 13 December, 2013, 15:47

    You make some good points Rex, how do you become the governer of Wisconsin like Scott Walker being a drop out with no college degree? Answer, support from Koch bros and big business! There are still some pretty powerful private unions in California. The NBA,NHL,NFL, MLB, player unions. Nurses,Verizon,Edison,SAG, and many others. Hopefully, as the private sector greedy corporations become more exposed then those workers in the private sector will rally to unionize!!

    Reply this comment
  9. Queeg
    Queeg 14 December, 2013, 00:06

    What a crock!

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*



Related Articles

Committee passes double holiday pay bill

A bill requiring California businesses to provide double pay for employees working on Thanksgiving and Christmas recently passed the Assembly

Unions, Santa Clara Democrats’ disclosure reports don’t match

A Bay Area Democratic campaign committee, which has transferred tens of thousands of dollars to targeted legislative candidates, is facing

California Was Impervious To Change

This article was first published in City Journal. NOV. 4, 2010 By STEVEN GREENHUT No state is in a bigger